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Warriors, Authority Still in Dispute Over Oracle Arena Debt

Golden State Warriors

A dispute between the Golden State Warriors and the owner of Oracle Arena continues, with the two sides sparring over how much the Warriors will owe toward arena debt. 

The Warriors committed to a 20-year lease in 1996 that featured significant renovations to the arena that were to be paid off over a 30 year-period. Under that arrangement, the team was to pay toward the debt annually and assume remaining debt if it terminated the lease. The language was also used in a more recent two-year lease between the two sides.

Where the Warriors and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority (OACCA) are in dispute is over whether the Warriors will owe toward that debt when they vacate the facility in the coming years. The Warriors are set to stay at Oracle Arena through the 2018-19 NBA season, and contend that they will no longer be responsible for debt if they stay at the venue until their current lease expires. The Coliseum Authority, however, has countered by arguing that the debt–estimated at $40–is in the hands of the Warriors, no matter where the team plays.

Over the course of this month, there has been continued debated over the issue, with the Warriors revealing that they will seek arbitration to settle the matter. More from the Times-Herald:

Attorney Joshua Hill, in the Oct. 6 letter, argued that the language of the contract requires the Warriors to pay the remaining debt if the team terminates its lease early, but does not if the team plays at the arena until the lease expires on June 30, 2019.

“The reality is the OACCA will continue to own and have the right to operate Oracle Arena after the license agreement expires and, as dictated by the license agreement, the OACCA will then bear sole responsibility for the scheduled debt service,” according to the arbitration and mediation demand. “This predicament is entirely of the OACCA’s own making, as it bargained for a 20-year term in the license agreement while issuing 30-year bonds.”

The team issued a statement late Wednesday saying that it is seeking arbitration “to settle, once and for all,” the outstanding debt.

Under the terms of their agreement, the Warriors are to pay $7.5 million toward the debt annually, and will continue to do so until they move to the upcoming Chase Center in San Francisco. The move to the new arena is expected to happen in time for the 2019-20 NBA season.

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